Wednesday, May 7, 2008

TONE FREQ REVIEW-D-TAR’s Wave Length Acoustic Pickup with Load ‘N Lock Install

The tag team of Seymour Duncan and Rick Turner take out the dreaded “Quack!”

Acoustic guitarists have had to wrestle with getting great sound with their pickups. Now with the advent of D-TAR’s Wave Length Acoustic Pickup with Load N’ Lock that bout is over! Below is an excerpt from

The Wave-Length combines a thin, piezo under-saddle transducer with an 18v, low-noise, high input impedance preamp, to create a system with twice the dynamic range of typical 9v systems. The 18v preamp is powered by two “AA” batteries. With 18 volts, your signal has more headroom, so hard strumming won’t distort as easily. The preamp has an input for a second source, like a magnetic pickup or a soundboard transducer.

Two adjustable trim pots, one low frequency shelving and one high frequency shelving, allow you to fine tune and “set and forget” the bass and treble frequencies to optimize the Wave-Length for your instrument’s size and shape; enabling you transparently amplify the natural timbre of your acoustic guitar with minimal coloration. Includes 1/4 ” jack (jack 6,35) and detailed installation instructions.

The Wave-Length volume and tone module's controls are located in the soundhole for easy access. With all the controls at one’s fingertips, and the preamp itself residing at the endpin, there’s no loss of tone or dampening of vibrations due to batteries and electronics being attached to a side-mounted pre-amp assembly.

… (Our) Load ‘N Lock system, allows quick and easy “AA” battery changes. Simply unscrew the endpin “collar,” remove the old batteries, and pop in the new ones. A quarter turn of the collar is all you need to lock them in place.
This system is way COOL! Having tried this system out myself it’s hard to know where to start. The volume and tone controls peeking from the edge of the soundhole is very stealthy and easy to use. Those “AA” batteries are also another plus in using this system. Everyone has those types of batteries lying around. In a pinch you can snag them from your remote control or buy them cheap at the nearby gas station. Over time those batteries will save you money over a 9-volt. If you’re like me and like things easy try the optional Load ‘N Lock system. It makes you wish you would have invented yourself! Changing batteries is a snap… or should I say a twist. Due to the nature of installing the Load ‘N Lock version I don’t recommend installing it yourself. Save yourself the trouble and get a pro-luthier to install it. It’s worth the cost of professional installation alone and buys you peace of mind. But let’s gut to the chase and talk about SOUND. Added headroom means great sound and more dynamic range! No more quack when you start strumming real hard! The manual suggests bumping up the treble a bit to maximize the tone control. After searching around the site for some advice I found this post from Rick Turner himself:
Clockwise is boost; full counterclockwise is flat. This is really "to taste.” The controls are deliberately subtle, and one way to use them is to bump up the bass if you've got a medium or smaller guitar to give more "air" to the sound. Also, you can boost the treble, and then roll it back off if desired using the thumb-wheel treble cut tone control. There is no right or wrong; there is only what works for your ears.- Rick Turner - D-TAR Designer/Explorer, Renaissance Luthier

How cool is that? It’s great that Rick personally leaves you sound advice on the company message board. KUDOS to Rick on that personal touch and customer service! D-TAR’s motto is “…with respect to acoustic tone” and they execute that motto brilliantly with the Wave Length Acoustic Pickup with Load ‘N Lock. They have won me over with respecting the acoustic guitarist with a great pickup system, great customer service and killer acoustic tone!

*TONE FREQ RECOMMENDED* Leave the quacking for the ducks! Pick it up!!!

COST: $199.00 USD


Aljon Go is considered to be a “pedal junkie” by his peers often asked for advice when building pedal boards. He toured the world with his award winning band Mink and was the artist relations/marketing pro for a musical accessory company. He currently spends his time bringing new and exciting tones to regional acts Jaux King, JonesWorld and Mister Happy. He is also host of the long running “Local Buzz” radio show in Nashville and product specialist for a leading guitar company. Freq’n out? E-mail Aljon: tonefreq(at)gmail(dot)com.


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